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Will the Goldman/Google story burn Rep. Issa?

Salon's Mike Madden does yeoman work on unraveling a too-strange-to-be true allegation lobbed at Democrats -- that the DNC might have been tipped off on the SEC's lawsuit against Goldman Sachs because it bought Google AdWords that would direct googlers to DNC web pages. The gist:

The DNC ad was part of a campaign that started earlier in the week to push for the administration's bank reform bill -- which Republicans oppose. Officials tell Salon they had bought the ad against a slew of search terms. Last Thursday, for instance, was Tax Day; if you Googled for "TurboTax" to try to find some last-minute tax preparation software help, you would have seen the very same DNC ad about Wall Street reform.

Not long after the New York Times broke the news of the Goldman lawsuit, Google search traffic about the case started to skyrocket... So the firm that was handling the DNC's online ad campaign added search terms like "Goldman Sachs SEC" to the already-existing buy.

The interesting question, to me, is whether Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) has shot himself in the foot by indulging this odd story. On Tuesday, Issa -- in his capacity as ranking member of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee -- sent an attention-getting letter to the SEC asking for background on contact with the White House and other political officials before the lawsuit. One of six bullet points (along with "members of the media have already begun to question the timing of the Commission's suit") was the timing of the Google ad buy.
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The whole letter is after the jump. Without the Google Ad data point, is it weakened substantially?

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Issa Letter on Goldman suit

By David Weigel  |  April 21, 2010; 11:35 AM ET
Categories:  Financial reform  | Tags: Darrell Issa, Goldman Sachs, Google, New York Times, Ranking member, United States, Wall Street, White House  
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